Nine women standing in a line side-by-side all wearing 1920s-era swimsuits, all wearing sashes with different US cities or states written on them.

Women’s Liberation, Beauty Contests, and the 1920s: Swimsuit Edition

For several years, I’ve had a wall decoration in my office: a panoramic photo of a 1920s beauty contest. I was surprised to come across it at a discount home furnishings retailer and bought it on impulse. After all, how often does a cherished primary source present itself as a consumer good? From its inception,… Read more →

The Discovery of the Mental Institution – With Apologies to David J. Rothman

On February 15, 2018, President Donald Trump spoke about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which Nikolas Cruz killed seventeen people. While Trump did mention “a shooter,” who “opened fire on defenseless students and teachers,” when it came to solutions, he focused on mental illness rather than the tools… Read more →

Demanding to Be Heard: African American Women’s Voices from Slave Narratives to #MeToo

The #Metoo movement has made public what women have long known: that sexual assault and harassment are endemic in many workplaces. Using the power of social media, brave women have revealed the abuses men in positions of power have inflicted on the women who worked for them. Women have been revealing the abuses of powerful… Read more →

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Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Sex ed in 1990s Britain. When salad was manly AF. The J. Marion Sims problem. The great wallpaper rebellion. Chinese medicine and the Black Panthers. Rosie the Riveter and the California dream. How our grandmother’s disappeared into history. The 12 best posters from the… Read more →

A stack of romance novels, including Gaelen Foley novels, and The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn.

The Dangers of the Damaged Hero: Gender and Suffering in Romance Novels

I unabashedly love romance novels. As a reader, I find that a well-crafted happy ending is a wonderful antidote to a world that seems at times utterly devoid of them. As a scholar of gender, I am fascinated by the ways in which sexuality, power, and desire are constructed, discussed, and challenged. Moreover, I heartily… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news A history of noise. Why China loves Jane Eyre. The women of the Bauhaus. We are the original lifehackers. Irish tattoos in 1860s New York. The history of “racially charged.” The quest to breed gifted children. Comedy is a part of feminist history. The actress… Read more →

An 1839 engraving of five women, four of them standing women holding pitchers with bowls and pitchers on their heads, and one kneeling next to a cow. They are wearing skirts.

Locating Enslaved Black Wet Nurses in the Literature of French Slavery

In George Sand’s 1832 idealist novel, Indiana, the eponymous protagonist is raised alongside her sœur de lait or “milk sister” Noun in the French Indian Ocean colony of Île Bourbon (present day Réunion). A “milk sister” was the daughter of the often enslaved wet nurse, and under French slave laws, children of enslaved women carried… Read more →